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Article by Rory McCartney
While the event was missing in action in 2017, German film trainspotters will be delighted to see the return of the GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL this year. With 26 features and six shorts, this year’s line-up is solid. BMA spoke with Festival Curator Bettina Kinski to learn more of the festival’s celluloid offerings.
There is a good spread of plot issues from those based on true stories, to comedy to drama.
“Germany has a very dynamic film industry and it was important for us to display its wide range of films,” Kinski says. “There are award winning dramas and light comedies, a fast-moving thriller I like a lot, and short films. There is something for everyone.”
Films were selected in collaboration with German Films (which promotes German movies worldwide) and the distribution companies. Naturally, a lot of movie binging is involved to assist in the selection process. Plus, local tastes have to be considered as some foreign films translate better than others in the Australian market, especially if the funnier aspects of a production depend on the viewer’s knowledge.
“With some films you just know right away,” she says. “It’s a beautiful task and I enjoy it a lot. I have to bear in mind if the Australians will watch the film, and will Australians understand this kind of humour. For example, I had a film which was great but we decided not to select it as its comedy value depended on a German dialect.”
A particular favourite of Kinski’s was the tragicomedy In Times of Fading Light, which was set behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany where Kinski grew up.
“This film reminds me of my early childhood days, and it was beautiful how (the film depicted) people speak and treat each other.”
The movie gives an insight into the pressure to conform to political dictates, set against the decline of the German Democratic Republic and the approaching fall of the Berlin Wall.
The featured documentary When Paul Came Over the Sea is very topical.
“This is a huge situation in Europe and in Germany; it’s a huge topic, says Kinski. “In Australia a lot of people asked me about it and are interested in what is going on. There are so many refugees and this documentary recounts a personal story. I come from a documentary background and this is a film I loved a lot.”
While most offerings come from late 2016 to those hot off the press from this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, a new version of a 30-year-old film is also included.
“I’m so happy that we can include Wings of Desire; it’s such a visionary classic of German cinema. While the film is from 1987, this newly restored version was world-premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.”
There are special events for the opening and closing evenings, plus a special event featuring Mademoiselle Paradis, the true story of a blind pianist who has to choose between her sight and her great gift for music.
Kino for Kids offers features for families, plus movies to which students are invited. Going further, the cutting humour of the Fack ju Göhte trilogy (the most successful German film franchise ever) is aimed at younger adults.
The 2018 German Film Festival is on at Palace Electric Cinema, New Acton, from Wednesday May 23 to Wednesday June 6. For details see germanfilmfestival.com.au.